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Friday, December 14, 2012

My cousin Don

As I launched into the paragraph in 'Reaching for the Beaufort Sea', I got goosebumps. Resonance. I read: "During my years of exile from cities I renewed my acquaintance with my cousin Don Ross, whose father used to bring us apples at Christmas. Don now ran the orchard farm between Wellington and Bloomfield"... (I can see the fine old farm in my mind's eye and will have to travel by someday soon.)

Lou Ross and "likely Don and Claire or Jean" - Eurithe
Al tells the story of his cousin Don in his autobiography.
Sure, not the happiest of stories.
A hard story of many men damaged by who continued to suffer and wound.
Al made a poem about his cousin Don, the son of Lou who was his mother's brother.
'My Cousin Don.'
Of Don, he says " I remember the small boy: he had grace, whatever grace is, in an orchard in Prince Edward County."

One of my dearest oldest friends is Don's eldest daughter. Only in adulthood - Naramata, BC, 1979 - did we really "meet" each other, although we had attended high school together in Picton the previous decade. We learned for the first time that we had actually met before...we were born the same morning, in the same hospital, thirty-some years earlier. My friend's mom was my favourite English teacher - she was brilliant. She left us this past January.

Oh yes, and maybe 'we' met even earlier.

My ancestor Patrick was a simple soldier with the Royal Highland Emigrants, a little known British/Scottish/American UEL regiment during the American revolution. Although the regiment served mostly in Lower Canada, and scattered on disbanding, a few of them landed with Archibald Macdonnel in 1784 in Grog Bay, Marysburgh (today's Prinyer's Cove) in Prince Edward County. I have a copy of the list of men who landed. On it was my ancestor Patrick Pierce. Below his name I see Alexander Ross and William Ross. And I wonder.

Thanks to Eurithe Purdy for the loan of the photo.

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